this post was originally posted Dec 3, 2008, and we have recently updated it.
Local search has changed a lot since 2008, but it is still important to get control of your Google map listing and optimize it for local search.
Take control of listings through the local business center www.google.com/mybusiness. It asks you your name, address and phone number, and it will then show you similar names or locations already in the Google maps. You can claim one of these listings or tell Google to add you as a new listing. You have to validate your listing by receiving a postcard mailed to your address or a phone call made to the number on the listing. Google will give you an identification number to perform the verification. Or you can validate a large batch of listings by uploading a data file with 10 or more listings all validated automatically.
Once validated, you can edit your listing. Get rid of duplicate listings. If your local business address is wrong you can report errors though google support, but it might take months for corrections to be made, despite talking to a representative. In some cases it makes sense to talk to Google before you try to claim a listing (especially if it is for deletion) because their support team can sometimes give you advice that will save you a lot of time and frustration.
How to optimize your corrected Google Local/Maps Listing:
- Make sure your business name is consistent and accurate and does not contain any words you think will help with SEO
- Use a local phone number when ever possible, and make sure all citations are consistent across your brand on Google and other Web 2.0 sites.
- List multiple categories if possible
- Make sure your hours of operation are correct
- Add links to the main pages of your website in your introduction statement so people can easily navigate to the information they need from the listing
- Upload a profile photo, a logo photo and a cover photo to make your listing really stand out
- You can also stand out by adding team photos, interior and exterior photos, and even videos
- Try to have people use keywords in their online reviews of your business from City Search, Trip Advisor, insiderpages.com and other web 2.0 sites
- Your ranking will show higher based on proximity to the search location (Universal search gives less weight to proximity)